Orthodox America


Our Common Task


When St. Herman, the first Orthodox missionary to this continent, came and established in young Americans, the local natives of Alaska, the principles of the Kingdom of God, he thereby set the tone for the whole of American Orthodoxy, which is the Christianity not of this world. Today, St. Herman remains, more than ever before, the instructor and inspirer of this true Christian spirit which is disappearing so rapidly in the world.

Never have the obstacles to true Christian life been greater than those facing us today. One could cite many external enemies of Christianity in the contemporary world, but it is sufficient to mention one, which attacks us from within even more than from without: the spirit of this world, which in its multitude of attractive and deceptive forms is almost irresistible to the sons of this age.

The Orthodox Christian today, willingly or not, is embraced by this spirit on every hand, and few are the sources of inspiration which help him to kindle and feed the flame of faith. Parish life in our churches itself has its worldly side and can even help to put to sleep the living Orthodox conscience.

Before every Orthodox Christian who sincerely wishes to preserve himself from the deadening influence of the world and to save his own soul, there lies a common task: to keep alive the flame of true Orthodox Christian faith and life-the flame which our Lord Jesus Christ came to earth in order to spread, and which St. Herman first gave to this continent.

Orthodoxy in America is this flame, and everyone who has truly touched it knows how it still can shine in the darkness of contemporary America and the world. It has little to do with the ordinary dreams of "American Orthodoxy", which are more a matter of organizations and the spirit of this world. It is simply Orthodoxy which has found a place in American souls, be they few or many, carrying on the flame that has ignited other nations in the past.

Each nation receives Orthodoxy with its own qualities of character and allows these qualities to be perfected and transformed by it. Let the American soul, then, receive Orthodoxy with its deep-rooted uprightness and honesty, to be perfected by Christian truth, and the broadness of heart and outlook that are rooted in the spaciousness of this God-favored land.

Let Orthodox America receive into its heart the concerns and the sufferings of its Orthodox brethren throughout the world. Let it take for its example the experience of Orthodox strugglers and saints and martyrs of every time and place. Let it absorb the teaching of the universal Fathers who have taught with the true wisdom of the Spirit. Let it make its own the true Orthodox Christianity which has been handed down unchanged from Christ and His Apostles and the age of catacombs even to our last days. Let it taste the grace that produced the Holy Russia of St. Herman and other nations faithful to Christ.

To all who wish to keep alive this flame of true Orthodox Christian life, this newspaper is dedicated. May it bring forth fruit in them and others!

Hieromonk Herman
Platina, California
1980

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